- 8 ounces ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, turkey, etc.)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or red pepper flakes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar (or apple cider, rice, etc.)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 4 ounces mushrooms, minced
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 14-oz cans tomatoes (depending on how tomato-y you like it! I like 2, some prefer 4!)
- 1/2 cup water or broth (or 2 broth cubes and 1/4 cup water)
- Add ground beef to a large pot over medium-high heat and brown on all sides. (If using a leaner meat, be sure to add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the pot first.) You want it to get a little dark and crispy on the bottom. Stir in the spices and mix well.
- Using your food processor (recommended) or a sharp knife/box grater, etc., finely mince the carrot, onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chopped vegetables and cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft and fragrant. If your pot is tall, not wide, this may take closer to 15 minutes.
- Push the meat and vegetables to the side and “deglaze” the pan by adding the vinegar (or white wine) and scraping up the brown bits. This is the good stuff!
- Add the canned tomato, tomato paste, and 1/2 cup water or broth and stir well.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom.
- After an hour, the sauce is ready – but you can certainly cook it for much longer if you’d prefer. I’d say 1-3 hours should do the trick. If you like a strong tomato-flavored sauce, you can cook it for just 30 minutes, but for a milder, less acidic sauce, cook for at least 1 hour.
- Note: if the sauce sticks, reduce the heat, stir it well and add a little broth or water.